Next stop was the Sliabh Aughty Furnace Project in Woodford co. Galway, a week+ long bloomery smelting festival. The goal of the project, organized by Paul Rondelez, was to bring together experts and enthusiasts from all over the world, harvest local bog ore, and see if it could be smelted in a variety of different style furnaces. I worked under the guidance of Jake Keen from England. Our team built three furnaces of similar design using clay, straw, and sand. We built our furnaces rather small to further investigate Jake's work to understand the minimum feasible size for a vertical shaft furnace.
My next stop was across to County Galway to Blacksmith Stephen Quinn. His shop is a beautiful space with lots of natural light and all the "candy" one could want (as he would say). I was especially fond of his many fly presses.
My next stop was to visit blacksmith Finin Liam Christie in County Wexford. While there I helped him forge some hammers and tongs. He has a beautiful double tuyere, side blast forge and some amazing, large anvils. Finin is a kind fellow with a very interesting past. Listen to an interview with him on "Blacksmither Radio".
I recently visited Ireland to attend the Sliabh Aughty Furnace Project. A multi-national gathering of bloomery smelting experts and enthusiasts with the purpose of smelting the first Irish bog ore in 200 years. While in Ireland I also took the opportunity to visit a few blacksmiths as well. Before all of this, however, was a visit (ok.. I went three different times) to the Dublin museum of Archaeology, which featured a spectacular exhibit on Viking ironwork from Ireland. This will be a multi-part blog post working chronologically through some of the iron-related highlights of the trip beginning with the Dublin National Archaeology Museum.
I'll let the photos do lots of the talking.